Top Chinese Universities for Studying Abroad

As you consider study-abroad programs and placement services, it's helpful to know more about their Chinese partner institutions. Here is a look at eight of China's top universities for studying abroad:

1. Tsinghua University (Beijing/Tsinghua)

Tsinghua University is generally considered China's top university, especially for science and engineering. An interesting connection: China paid indemnity money to the U.S. for losses suffered in the Boxer Rebellion, and the U.S. used some of that money to found a prepatory school in China for students coming to study in America. That school evolved into Tsinghua. Today this prestigious institution counts China's president, Hu Jintao, and vice president, Xi Jinping, as alums.

Top Chinese Universities for Studying Abroad - University Bench in Beijing

photo by Haizi Zheng

2. Peking University (Beijing/Peking)

Peking University, Tsinghua's in-town rival for top university honors, was founded in 1898 and is considered the first modern research university in China. At the center of China's New Culture, May Fourth and Tiananmen Square movements, Peking has been fertile ground for revolutionary thinking. Mao Zedong (that's Chairman Mao to you) worked in the library. Chinese Communist Party co-founders Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu were an administrator and professor, respectively. Yale University has a joint undergraduate program with Peking.

3. Fudan University (Shanghai)

The top university in Shanghai, Fudan benefits from its cosmopolitan setting in China's financial hub. International students can choose not only Chinese language classes but also business courses taught in English. Shanghai, the most populated city in the world, is the centerpiece of new China, with a skyline to rival New York City.

4. Xi'an Jiaotong University (Xi'an)

Xi'an Jiaotong's greatest attraction may be its setting. Last stop on the Silk Road, home to 6,000 terracotta warriors who guard the mausoleum of China's first emperor and host to a thriving Muslim minority, Xi'an is a city rich in history. Modern-day visitors also appreciate the world's largest Internet cafe, a contemporary art "factory" and a hopping music scene.

Top Chinese Universities for Studying Abroad - University Statue

photo by Matthew J. Stinson

5. Zhejiang University (Hangzhou)

Though founded in 1897, the modern Zhejiang University is the product of four universities that joined together in 1998. Zhejiang is located in Hangzhou, a city known for silk and tea, not far from West Lake, one of China's most beautiful settings. Students enjoy a less crowded urban experience here--and can visit Shanghai, only 120 miles away, when seeking adventure.

6. Nanjing University (Nanjing)

Founded in 1902, Nanjing was the first university in China to enroll women. Nanjing, an ancient capital and now the central city of the Yangtze Delta, is considered the greenest city in China. Nanjing University hosts a joint center with John Hopkins University.

7. Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University (Guangzhou)

Founded in 1924 by the great man himself--and with the stated purpose of training revolutionaries--Sun Yat-sen University is the most important school in southern China. Guangzhou, also known as Canton, was once one of the world's great trading ports and has a tradition of openness.

Top Chinese Universities for Studying Abroad - University Students

photo by Rick Z.

8. Nankai University (Tianjin)

Nankai University is considered to be especially strong in the social sciences. Zhou Enlai, first Premier of the People's Republic of China, and Cao Yu, an influential 20th century playwright, both attended. Tianjin is the third largest city in China and the principal city of northern China.